AFC South preview and predictions: Rebuilt Jaguars ready to bounce back


Post columnist Mark Cannizzaro breaks down each team and every division in the NFC as part of our 2019 NFL preview:

Coach: Doug Marrone

2018 record: 5-11

O/U wins: 8

Key additions: QB Nick Foles, TE Geoff Swaim, WR Chris Conley

Key losses: QB Blake Bortles, WR Donte Moncrief, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

First-and-goal: Can new QB Nick Foles perform for the Jags the way he did for the Eagles in his super-sub role? First-rounder Josh Allen could be a double-digit sacker on a menacing defensive line that features Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. Jalen Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. Uberathletic LB Myles Jack can cover ground quickly.

Fourth-and-long: The Jags O-line was a problem last season and a reason behind their 31st-ranked scoring offense (15.3 points per game). Receiver could be a problem for the Jags, who don’t have the game-breakers Foles had in Philly like Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz. Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook have yet to prove themselves as consistent receivers. RB Leonard Fournette, who missed eight games last season, needs to have a big year.

Cann’s call: 10-6. Foles, the centerpiece of the Jags’ offseason rebuild, doesn’t have the supporting cast he had in Philadelphia, but he’s still a significant upgrade over the passing-challenged Blake Bortles.

Coach: Bill O’Brien

2018 record: 10-6

O/U wins: 8 ½

Key additions: LB Barkevious Mingo, S Tashaun Gipson, RB Duke Johnson, QB AJ McCarron, T Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills

Key losses: DE Jadaveon Clowney, WR Demaryius Thomas, S Tyrann Mathieu, RB Alfred Blue, CB Kareem Jackson

First-and-goal: It’s all about dynamic QB Deshaun Watson and his game-breaking WR DeAndre Hopkins. They make it all go for the Texans. Watson remaining healthy is the key.

The trade for LT Laremy Tunsil will keep Watson from taking the kind of beating (62 sacks) he endured a year ago. They also drafted two tackles among their first three picks and signed free-agent blocking TE Darren Fells in an effort to help with protection.

Fourth-and-long: Jadeveon Clowney is a Seahawk, so who helps J.J. Watt rush the passer? O’Brien doesn’t have a general manager and needs one. S Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu and CB Kareem Jackson are gone. TE Jordan Thomas is intriguing, but the group lacks a sure thing. The schedule is daunting.

Cann’s call: 9-7. Watson has to stay healthy. He’s one of the most dynamic players in the league.

Coach: Mike Vrabel

2018 record: 9-7

O/U wins: 8

Key additions: DE Cameron Wake, QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Adam Humphries, LB Jeffery Simmons

Key losses: TE Luke Stocker, QB Blaine Gabbert, S Johnathan Cyprien

First-and-goal: The Titans finished strong in 2018, winning four of their final five regular-season games, and that seemed to coincide with running the ball more often. A continuation of this should help RB Derrick Henry, who rushed for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, thanks to more carries. TE Delanie Walker, 35, is primed for a comeback season. Possession WR Adam Humphries knows how to get open. LG Rodger Saffold upgrades the O-line. OLB Cameron Wake may be 37, but he still remembers how to chase the quarterback.

Fourth-and-long: It’s difficult to characterize QB Marcus Mariota (above) as a liability for the Titans, but since being taken second overall in the 2015 draft, Mariota has battled two knee sprains, a hamstring strain and a pinched nerve in his elbow. As a result, he’s yet to play in all 16 games in a season.

Former first-round WR Corey Davis has not emerged as a No. 1 receiver. Maybe this year’s first-round WR, A.J. Brown, will one day. LT Taylor Lewan is serving a four-game suspension.

Cann’s call: 8-8. This is a team that really is on the playoff bubble. If things go right enough, the Titans can sneak in.

Coach: Frank Reich

2018 record: 10-6